Thinking of downsizing?


So much real estate is centred around buying your first home or moving up, but getting a smaller home has a lot of significance as well. There can be many different reasons people downsize, and here are some things to keep in mind when you do!

The first thought that comes to mind has to do with "empty nesters". This basically implies that a couple or a parent is living in a larger home they purchased when there were children living there. Once those children move out, the space seems much bigger than you remember! When you're just a couple or a single person in a three or four bedroom home you can feel somewhat alone. Moving into a smaller house or condo can mean a lot less maintenance, and can feel much more cozy.

Downsizing isn't always an easy decision, though. A client I recently helped had a large country home with a lot of landscaping to take care of. The difficulty they had was that it had been their family home for many years and it felt like home to them and their adult children. When you're considering this option, it's best to weigh all pros and cons of staying in your current home or moving into a smaller one.

Another reason that is sometimes overlooked is an economic one. In the last couple of years, we've heard many horror stories - primarily in the United States - of foreclosures or people having to sell their homes for less than what they owe. Power of sales are more common in Canada (for several reasons - a later discussion!) and they happen more often than you may think. Some homeowners, to avoid this situation, sell when they know they can't afford it anymore. This could happen due to layoffs, a separation, or unexpected bills piling up. Although this is another difficult decision, it can relieve financial stress in your household.

Moving into a smaller home will probably mean that you're giving up some of the luxuries you had in your previous house, but the maintenance will most likely be far easier - less floor space to vacuum and mop, fewer windows to wash every spring, and maybe even a smaller yard to mow!

Once you've made the decision to downsize your home, there are some ideas that will be very helpful as you start planning and packing. This link for "Top 10 Tips for Downsizing" can help you along the way. If you want to hear a first-hand story of the process, check out the Globe and Mail's article "Downsizing is a huge step" for some anecdotes and the trial and error search for the perfect smaller home.

Laura Keller is with CENTURY 21 Explorer Realty Inc. in Carleton Place, ON.

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